From the Fairhaven BPW
We, the five elected Board of Public Works Commissioners in Fairhaven, are writing to respectfully request that residents and Town Meeting members consider changing the position of Tree Warden from an elected position to an appointed position, and bringing the Tree Department under the Board of Public Works umbrella.
The Tree Department has operated independently for decades, and for decades it has continually failed the people of Fairhaven. The people of Fairhaven deserve a fully operational Tree Department. They deserve a Tree Department that is headed by a full-time certified arborist who not only understands the danger of trees that are withered and trees that obstruct critical points in our public infrastructure, but who is also committed to maintaining trees and green spaces that are integral to Fairhaven’s small town charm.
The Board of Public Works oversees public infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks, water and sewer. The BPW also serves as the Town’s park commissioners, overseeing Fairhaven’s vast number of green spaces. Our staff both in office and in the field respond daily to calls from residents regarding these matters. However, despite having this infrastructure in place, the BPW is often unable to respond to matters regarding tree removal and maintenance because we lack the legal authority to handle matters under Tree Department purview and don’t have the ability to legally access the Tree Department’s equipment.
During and after weather emergencies, such as our most recent storm and blizzard, the Tree Department relies heavily on the infrastructure of the BPW to respond to removing fallen trees and the subsequent cleanup of brush in roadways and public spaces. Our public safety departments, along with the burden of having to respond to ongoing emergencies also have to communicate with two departments, the BPW and Tree Department, to fulfill a singular task.
Folding the Tree Department into the daily operations of the Board of Public Works, with a commitment from the Town to provide the BPW with the funding needed to make it fully operational, is the only resolution that makes logistical sense. It is also the only resolution that can provide people in Town with a municipal government that can swiftly and seamlessly execute the needs of residents regarding tree removal and maintenance.
The Board of Public Works is entrusted with and committed to providing residents with the most essential municipal functions that they rely on in their day-to-day lives, and we are working towards continuing and strengthening that commitment by providing you with the Tree Department that you deserve. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us.
The Board of Public Works
Brian Wotton, Chair
Robert Hobson, Vice Chair,
Cameron Durant, Secretary
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